Jo Elizabeth Butler

Africa in Red, White and Black
Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
I recently moved from Geneva, Switzerland to Maryland after 35 years of living abroad.

Describe your artistic style.
I really like African art and beads.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Beading and using African ornaments as centerpieces.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I like natural materials such as pearls, semi-precious stones, crystals and enjoy working with silver. I love buying from Fire Mountain gems. I am a self-taught jewelry designer and your tutorials are excellent. I also love buying my tools on your site as well. Your semi-precious stones mix very well with African beads and I especially love mixing beads and silver with your crystals and pearls. Lots of my friends and colleagues abroad use your site and buy from your incredible plethora of choices.

Where and How do you sell your jewelry?
I sell my designs through Etsy under the name schoolery: jewels for schools ( All proceeds from selling my jewelry goes to help HIV/AIDS orphans and rural school children in Ethiopia. I recently retired from my job as Deputy Director at the UN.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Africa in Red, White and Black

What inspired this design?
A friend brought me back some coral from Mauritius, another friend brought me beads from Ghana and I travelled to Swaziland and found black and white buffalo horn.

How did it come together?
I really don't plan. I get inspired by beads that I buy from Fire Mountain and enjoy combining them with other finds. I sit in front of all these beads and stones and my hands just start to put them all together.